The Apparel and Fashion industries are among the sectors that have been more harshly hit by the COVID pandemic during this year that is now coming to an end. According to Statista, “In Europe’s clothing sector, compared to the same period in 2019, production fell by 37.4 percent in the period between April-June 2020, when global coronavirus cases reached a peak. Retail sales of clothing products saw the most dramatic decline, with 43.5 percent of drop in sales”.
These trying times have put the whole sector under the test and have highlighted the urgency of a radical change, now more than ever. In times where the digital shift has stood out as a necessity more than a simple nice-to-have, 3D and Virtual reality turned out to be valuable allies for the fashion brands, enabling them to replace the in-person shows, showrooms and presentations they were forced to suspend with remote virtual ones.
inVRsion’s SaaS solution – that was already successfully adopted across the global CPG and Retail sectors to create extremely realistic and procedural virtual environments thanks to ShelfZone® – has seen its capabilities extended to the Fashion sector in order for brands to facilitate sales or design reviews, without giving up the brand experience and the fidelity to the real counterparts which are key to the fashion experience.
This article highlights how we came from the idea to the realization of our virtual showroom environment.
From idea to customizable environment
This project is an editable, procedural showroom, specifically designed for virtual reality and that can be the basis for an e-commerce application.
The environment can be used by fashion brands both in the design process (for instance for doing product design reviews) or for making presentations/showcasing new collections to their buyers within a captivating environment that reflects the brand experience.
The environment is connected to inVRsion’s database of high-quality contents and can be autonomously customized from the web-based editing software by the user.
Design is key to the fashion industry, so before starting the production we had to define a clear and attractive design concept for the environment.
We started by defining a Mood Board and some design concepts inspired by the latest collections from the most iconic fashion brands of Summer 2020.
From here the process had to define colors and materials, arrange internal areas and decide exposition flow. Then sketches and planimetries were used for the first blockout realization. During this process we also defined furniture, ornaments and structural elements in detail.
Customizable via web
We built the environment to work properly through our tool and to run with optimal performance in VR.
Most of the assets are editable: you can choose where to place furniture, as well as other items, and arrange them within a 2D map of the environment in a detailed web layout. You can also manage the placement of the products (Bags, Dresses, Accessories etc.) on the furniture, choosing from a well-displayed web catalogue library with all product information (Size, Brand, Color).
We can add any product we want to the library, ensuring our quality to be that of a highly-detailed product pipeline.
Once the interface is ready, you can easily launch the package that converts your layout into a fully interactive VR environment, downloadable from the webpage.
The environment management also enables the rebranding of the experience based on the client’s needs.
Brands with different fabrics, looks or languages can still stay true to their identity whilst being able to showcase their products within an immersive experience.
Our photogrammetry digitization pipeline brings real-world assets into our VR e-commerce environment.
From Photogrammetry/Laser scan we reconstruct a balanced poly-count asset, baking the textures and tuning them to obtain our high-fidelity result.
Each asset is unique and treated as a hero asset. It might be the focus of the client’s experience, so its details must stay true to the real-world counterpart.
Runs in VR
Our Environment is targeted for a fully explorable VR experience. The experience is powered by a real-time engine and allows not only movement but also interaction.
You can walk/teleport all over the showroom (Ground Floor, First Floor) and interact with any object placed in the web editor.
The context of the environment might also be important to some clients. The ability to contextualize the project with real-world locations helps our clients better connect to their local customers.
As a proof of concept we integrated the environment into a hypothetical area of Milano, Italy. What better city for a design project? To achieve this, we had to organize a detailed work of recreation of the local materials, compositions, lighting, vegetation, etc.
The two main challenges were to recreate the outer world while maintaining a detailed and rich environment inside. The other challenge was the careful balancing of the exterior lighting and the interior one in an ‘’almost sunset’’ backdrop.
This is how we came from the idea to the realization of a customizable virtual showroom. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
If you are thinking about virtualizing your existing showroom or designing a new virtual one, don’t hesitate to contact us for further information!